Making life easier after your organization requires two-step authentication

January 25, 2013 Mark Rushakoff

My normal workflow at home used to be that I would use one session of Chrome for normal internet browsing with my personal accounts, and I would simultaneously use an incognito session for work email and other work-related accounts. However, since Pivotal Labs is now requiring two-step authentication for our Google Accounts, this would mean that every time I open an incognito window to check my work email from home, I would have to wait for a text message on my phone and enter the code.

The first step in making this easier is to install the Google Authenticator app, available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry (don’t forget to follow the setup directions in that post too). Now, instead of waiting for a text message, and then having to delete that message from my inbox (for some reason the message frequently comes from a different phone number), you can just launch the app on your phone and transcribe a 6-digit code into the second authentication step.

The other step is to configure Chrome for multiple users. This lets you have multiple, isolated Chrome windows at the same time. So now I can still use one session for my personal accounts while simultaneously having an open session for my work accounts, and I can choose “remember this computer for 30 days” because the session won’t get blown away when I close the last window. Here’s the screen where you can configure a user’s name and icon:

 

Example of other Chrome user icons

If you have used incognito mode, then you’ve most likely noticed that the incognito session windows have a spy-looking icon in one of the top corners:

Example of Chrome's incognito icon

Once you have set up multiple users in Chrome, then your normal windows will have an icon of your choosing in the same corner, so you can quickly identify which session that a window belongs to. Clicking on that icon will display a menu where you can choose to open a window belonging to another user.

I hope this helps make living with two-step authentication easier for you. If you have any other tips, let’s hear them in the comments!

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